University of Phoenix Graduate Rebekah Poe Reflects on Parenting While Completing a Degree
Rebekah Poe, the author of the blog and Instagram account Lessons and Lattes with Mrs. Poe, understands the challenges of attending college classes while raising children. Poe is a 2015 University of Phoenix graduate who earned her Bachelor of Arts in English after starting her courses when her daughter was just five months old. She later earned a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and now works as a special education teacher and K-6 resource specialist.
Poe spoke with the University of Phoenix in March 2021 about her experiences and offered advice to others juggling the roles of student and parent at the same time. She also drew on her experience as an educator when offering tips to other student parents.
Complete Coursework Together with Preschool or School-Aged Kids
Sitting down at the table to complete homework together can help parents and kids build a deeper bond while they also commiserate with each other. Taking this approach can set a good example for kids and allow them to build strong study habits as they progress through school themselves. Poe also stated that studying with her now seven-year-old daughter gave them the opportunity to hold each other accountable for finishing their work.
Children will need to make sacrifices while their parents are in school. For example, their mom or dad may not be able to play with them or take them to a friend’s house because they have to study. Poe recommended that parents explain the reason they cannot do something with their child honestly but follow it up with a commitment to spend time together later. She also felt that having a parent in school can teach kids the necessity of working hard and sacrificing to achieve a goal.
Student Parents Should Remember Why They Started
Working, parenting, and taking college coursework at the same time can feel overwhelming for anyone. When feelings of frustration or a desire to quit arise, Poe advised student parents to reflect on why they went back to school in the first place. She also encouraged them to remember that their reasons for pursuing higher education are valid.
For Poe, one reason she wanted to earn her undergraduate and graduate degrees was to give her family more financial freedom in the future. She reminded herself of that objective often while completing both degree programs. Talking about education goals with the rest of the family can make the process seem more like a team effort rather than an individual one.
Playtime Can Be a Learning Experience
As a teacher, Poe understands that children need to play to learn and feels that play is just as important as formal learning. She looks for opportunities to add learning to her daughter’s playtime or everyday activities as often as she can.
One example is asking her daughter to help her prepare food from a recipe. If the recipe is only enough for two servings and Poe wants to make four servings, she asks her daughter to figure out how to double the recipe. According to Poe, the key is for parents to have fun with their kids and not make the time they spend engaged in activities together seem like school.
Plan, Prioritize and Seek Support
Poe is a proponent of using time management to keep up with work, school, and parenting tasks. Her favorite way to keep track of her responsibilities is with a pen and a large calendar, but she recognized that other people may prefer using applications on their smartphones or computers.
She recommended making a daily schedule of tasks and then prioritizing them with the understanding that some may carry over to the next day. Poe also urged student parents to understand they may need to say no to social invitations or other activities because of school. Learning how to prioritize and reflecting on the reasons for enrolling in a degree program can help keep a schedule on track.
College students with young children can save time by putting out clothes, lunches, and assignments for school or daycare the previous night. Taking this small step saves time looking for items in the morning and allows parents and kids to feel less stressed and rushed.
One of Poe’s most emphatic recommendations was for student parents to develop a support system of people they can call on to babysit or vent their frustrations to. Technology such as FaceTime can also help keep older children busy talking to grandparents or friends while parents study.
Although Poe faced the challenges of working, parenting, and attending college for most of her daughter’s early years, she knows she is far from alone in this. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 4.8 million students attend college while raising children. Women make up 71 percent of student parents, with 43 percent of them being single parents.
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The University of Phoenix offers more than 100 programs tied to real-world work experience. Popular degree programs include business, healthcare, nursing, and technology. The University of Phoenix also offers professional development courses, certificates, and continuing education for teachers.
With online course options and flexible scheduling available, students can manage their other obligations while completing a degree or program at the University of Phoenix. Interested parties can learn more about their education options by submitting this form to request a callback.
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